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Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption

Average Rating 4
( 190 )
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(89)

4 Star

(53)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(8)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Thanks for sharing Jennifer and Ron...it teaches us how to forgive and love.

I found this story so inspiring at a time that we are all struggling for a reason that our world is in such disarray. It shows how very sensitive a rape can be and what can be done to overcome a judgement gone wrong. Truly goes deep into one's thoughts and emotions.

posted by 1158129 on March 27, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Interesting story, but Poorly written

"Picking Cotton" is an absorbing story of a man that is wrongly convicted, mostly by eyewitness account, of the rape of a young woman. Write in first person back and forth between the victim and the "suspect," it gives an interesting firsthand account of how each was de...
"Picking Cotton" is an absorbing story of a man that is wrongly convicted, mostly by eyewitness account, of the rape of a young woman. Write in first person back and forth between the victim and the "suspect," it gives an interesting firsthand account of how each was dealing with the situation as it unfolded. I enjoyed reading the women's point of view and how she had to learn to forgive.
I did not, however, think the book was well written. There were some awkward points where things were left unexplained and something that was seemingly unimportant to the story was talked about. I thought the editing could have been better and that's why I gave the book a 3 star rating.
I've read a lot of Innocence Project books but this one you actually get to hear the accounts from each person. I'm glad that, at least, this story had a happy ending.

posted by 3338910 on April 13, 2010

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  • Posted July 19, 2011

    Intense

    Why do these situations keep showing up over and over? It seems as though no one cares until displaced justice shows up in the ties of the family. This book is written as a story. It is actually what someone lived.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    Amazing story

    I truly enjoyed reading this book. What a powerful story about faith, love and compassion.

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  • Posted June 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Two Sides of the Story

    Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton is co-authored by a victim of rape and the man who was falsely accused of the crime, with the assistance of writer Erin Torneo. The format alternates from Jennifer's to Ronald's perspectives and the story reads like a documentary. Picking Cotton opens with a "happily ever after" prologue that took decades to reach. The interim was an excruciating journey of mistakes and misery. Within the story, there are racial issues to explore, as well as pros and cons in the criminal justice system. The story starts with Jennifer's point of view. After briefly establishing her routines and relationships for the readers, we see how her college life is immeasurably altered when she is raped. Jennifer endures the examination at the hospital; she has to repeatedly tell the details to detectives; she faces the disengaged attitudes of her family and boyfriend. In these relationships, the reader sees a victim-blaming society in action: Jennifer's mother wonders if what she wore had something to do with being attacked; Jennifer's boyfriend asks her if she enjoyed it. Jennifer courageously moves through the legal system, and eventually moves on. On the local news, Ronald sees that the police are searching for him as a suspect. Only twenty-two years old, his simple life becomes immeasurably complicated when he is arrested. He is treated as though he were already found guilty. Ronald is equally courageous as he moves through a legal system that is out to get him, no matter what. Ronald spends more than a decade in prison, acclimating to the dismal culture of those incarcerated for life. He is guilty until DNA proves him innocent. He has to start over. This book needed to be written so that readers witness the capacity of human will, the fate from human error, and the resiliency of spirit from both sides of the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2011

    Great book on forgiveness

    I learned about this book at a local university. I was very pleased with the book. I love the law and this book didnt disappointment me. It also taught me alot about the human heart and forgiving one another and yourself.

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    Great storu

    Vert great story enjoyed it very much

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    Great book

    This unfortunatly but real story makes us think about injustices, profiling, forgiviness and new begginings. It is a must read! It was hard to put the book down.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Great story

    Couldnt put it down, wonderful read!

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    Great read

    This was a great read about life--the trauma, survival, and at times forgiveness. If these two people can be friends after all they have experienced, then there is hope for all of us.

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  • Posted March 28, 2011

    awesome

    worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2011

    awesome book

    I really enjoyed this one. To have to realize that you made a mistake and then the accuser forgives you, and turns their life around without any harsh feelings toward the person.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2011

    Great book!!!

    I enjoyed this book tremendously! It was a great story of true forgiveness.

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    Kritters Ramblings Review

    Thank you to a blogger who recently reviewed this book, I am sorry I can't remember where I found it. A great read about a young woman who was burglarized and raped in the middle of the night in her college apartment. She went on to identify her attacker who was sentenced to life in prison. After 11 years, a simple DNA test set him free. Now the victim and accuser are friends, yep, crazy - but this makes the book a great read - to find out how it all happens.

    When I read the review on the other blog, I was drawn in by the story because it is such a heinous crime, but the ending is very positive. Then I found out where this crime took place - my alma mater Elon University. I couldn't believe that I had never heard this story and I bumped the book to the top of my list.

    Written from both of the perspectives of the victim - Jennifer and the accused - Ronald, this book overlaps with their viewpoints which I absolutely loved. I enjoyed being in the courtroom in Jennifer's shoes and hearing the verdict and then going back in time through the trial again in Ronald's shoes.

    I would recommend this book to all of my readers who love non-fiction and especially those who may have a connection to North Carolina or Elon.

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  • Posted January 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    check out this book......

    this was a very good read. interesting the autrosity that was done and happpens everyday. it was interesting to read both persons lives and how they handled their lives before and after and then again after it was corrected.

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  • Posted November 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommend

    Really enjoyed this book. So great to see how Cotton could overcome such obstacles and succeed in life.

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  • Posted July 19, 2010

    Truly, an amazing story of the human capacity for forgiveness

    I have to admit, as an African-American woman, this story was a tough read for me in the beginning. It tells of the never-ending struggle for equality and non-prejudicial justice in our courts of law. As I continued to read this work, I was so struck by Mr. Cotton's tenacity, his sheer determination not to give up and succomb to the hell that became his life. For Mr. Cotton to hold no grudge, no animosity, no anger toward his accuser! That had to be his faith and conviction in God! And for Ms. Thompson, I appreciate the fact that she was willing to acknowledge her wrong (even in the midst of the brutality that she suffered which I don't take lightly), and bestow so much honor to the man she falsely accused. I was so glad for the two of them, when it was acknowledged that Ronald Cotton was as much a victim here, as the women that were raped by the true perpetrator. The story of friendship that blossoms between the two took my breath away. This is truly a lesson in love, honor and forgiveness, and I will cherish this story for many years to come.

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  • Posted June 24, 2010

    Picking Cotton

    This was a very enlightening read. Any reader will be in shock of our justice system and in awe of the forgiving nature of both people in the main story. All lawyers, judges, and policemen should read this true story!

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

    READ IT!

    One of the best books i ever read!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Great story of redemption and forgiveness and the power of DNA testing

    I read this true story straight through. The authors' journey to forgiveness (of others and of themselves) is astounding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    A must read

    It was compelling. Very well written. Audio was excellent with 2 readers.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What an amazing read.

    We read this for our book club and it provided one of the best, loudest discussion we have had for any book. Half of us believed in blanket DNA tests for those already in prison, half said it was an invasion of their privacy. Half of us thought the money given to wrongly convicted individuals should be large, the other half said it should be minimal and based on all sorts of various things. There was quite a bit of yelling and talking over each other - it was great! The story itself was amazing - the theme of forgiveness even more amazing. I have to say that I was most disappointed with Jennifer's fiancé and family. Personally, I believe they behaved despicably (which set off another round of discussion in book club). I felt just as sorry for her in having to deal with them as I did in her having to deal with the rape. They seemed to relish in compounding what she was already going through. Sad, really. This is a must read for just about anyone.

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